Stimulus money to help state with Medicaid records

   California’s Medicaid program will receive $2.48 million from the federal stimulus program to implement the electronic health record (EHR) incentive program established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

   EHRs make it easier for health providers who may be treating a Medicaid patient to coordinate care and for patients to access the information they need to make decisions about their health care, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

   The Recovery Act provides a 90 percent federal match for state planning activities to administer the incentive payments to Medicaid providers, to ensure their proper payments through audits and to participate in statewide efforts to promote meaningful use of EHR technology statewide and, eventually, across the nation.

   “Meaningful and interoperable use of EHRs in Medicaid will increase health care efficiency, reduce medical errors and improve quality-outcomes and patient satisfaction within and across the states,” said Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations at CMS.

   California will use the federal money to determine the current status of health information technology activities in the state. As part of that process, the state will gather information on issues such as existing barriers to its use of EHRs, provider eligibility for EHR incentive payments and the creation of a State Medicaid HIT Plan. More information is at www.cms.hhs.gov/Recovery/11_HealthIT.asp#TopOfPage.

   
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